How UK SMBs Are Betting on Social Media Marketing to Survive
Published on: 29 Sep 2022 | Author: Anne-Gaëlle Sy
As our report on the state of social media reveals, demand has soared in the last year and a half, and more SMBs than ever need professional support with their social media.
As a business, this large pool of potential users is too good to miss, and that is why it is no surprise that social media marketing investments have been on the rise in the UK in the past 5 years.
As a business in the post 2000 era, social media is one of the largest sources of brand visibility.
With over 4.6 billion people social media users (58.4% of the world population) estimated by Hootsuite and the power of targeting their ideal customer profile, companies have never had this kind of potential reach in the past.
In the UK, Statista states that 84.3% of the population uses social media, making it the 16th country with the highest social media penetration rate and 10 places ahead of the US.
A customer DMs your business on Instagram. Two hours later, they haven’t received a response. What happens next? According to Sprout Social:
If your business takes “too long” to respond, not only do you lose a potential customer, but you are giving them away freely to your competition and losing other potential customers along the way.
However, if you were to give your potential customer a good experience, Cyber Crew estimates that 71% of them will be more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
At Sortlist, we have had the first-hand experience of visualising this growth of social media marketing in the UK with the sheer number of projects coming in.
“It’s super important for any kind of business [to be present on social media]. Back in 2015 or 2016, you would see B2B clients; they wouldn’t be interested in social media. Maybe my clients were not on Facebook or Instagram, but nowadays, even B2B does go to social media because the decision-makers are on social media. That’s where they consume content.”Dana Hammoudeh – Social Media Lead, Chain Reaction
The top 3 expertises we have received projects for at Sortlist are:
In the first quarter of 2020, Sortlist received a total of 60 qualified projects. Two and a half years later, in Q2 of 2022, we were able to send 328 qualified projects to our partnering agencies, meaning an increase of 447%.
Social media marketing has always been the number 1 expertise companies in the UK are looking to outsource.
If we take a look at the growth of social media projects in the past two and a half years, there has been an increase of 757%. Continuing with this trend, in Q4 of 2024, we should receive roughly 514 social media projects.
The top 5 sectors in the UK looking for social media agencies are:
The main reason why so many companies have decided it has become essential for them to be on social media platforms is for the countless amounts of benefits they provide, compared to other places to advertise their business. Let’s have a look at those benefits.
By creating a better bond and relationship with your customers, you have much higher chances for them to become returning and regular customers.
In fact, British consumers are most likely to connect with brands via social media. Forget the old-school phone calls and text messages; customers want to be sliding into your DMs and publicly liking your posts.
By not having a point of contact on social media, you’re taking away your brand’s top chances of interacting with its consumers.
Increased engagement = increased brand loyalty.
“We see companies who have improved engagement increase cross-sell by 22%, drive up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%, and also increase order sizes from 5% to 85%.”– R “Ray” Wang
Instead of having an in-person store on a busy street where the majority of people who walk past won’t even acknowledge your brand, you can target your brand online specifically to those who you know will be interested in your product or service.
On Meta platforms, you can target your ads to locations as specific as towns and as precise as categories, such as “empty nesters” or “newly engaged.”
Next to specific targeting, you can also start targeting audiences that you may have missed as potential customers.
Lookalike audiences are audiences that have similar behaviours to your target audience who social media thinks could become converting customers of your business.
By using social media, you can discover a whole new group of potential customers that you may have missed in your previous targeting tactics.
Another valuable asset that social media channels bring to companies is a more positive customer experience which, in turn, brings us back to the importance of converting one-time customers into long-term ones.
As mentioned before, if a customer has a good online experience with a brand, 71% of them will be more likely to recommend it to their friends and family. The best way to ensure this is through 1-1 communication.
Check out this KLM customer that has taken to social media to complain about the services he has received from the Dutch airline.
The passenger’s message was easily addressed and responded to by the company and referred to the right spot to file the complaint, which they have also conveniently placed in their profile bio to make it easy for customers to get in contact with them.
But social media accounts can provide businesses with much more than just pain points. They can also be a source of positive feedback and innovative ideas for your company.
During pride month, KLM showed its support for the LGBTQ+ community by taking to Instagram and posting the picture above. The comments section was filled with positive comments and support from either current or potentially new passengers. This is also a form of customer satisfaction.
Seeing the outpour of love from people on social media from this kind of posts is an indicator to KLM that addressing social issues on their social media accounts increases positive engagement and customer satisfaction.
With social media it is easy to keep tabs on your competitors and use new tools such as social listening to get a glimpse into the topics your audiences, and other similar ones, are talking about.
From these kinds of tools, you can learn some things about your audience, such as:
it is important for both big and small companies to have a solid and professional social media strategy to live up to consumer expectations and give their business a chance.
According to Sprout Social, 80% of customers that walk in your store are expecting you to have a social media presence as well. But not only that. 62% of them that walk in believe that if you’re not on social media, your business will most likely die out in the long run.
But even with these high statistics, and the benefits of having a solid social media strategy that we have outlined before, only 40% of small to medium businesses in the UK are present on social media platforms. There is double the percentage in the US.
But things seem to have started to take a turn since last year. Back in 2021, a Statista survey published that paid social media marketing was the number one area in which UK marketers were planning to increase their investments come 2022.
The social platform a business decides to use is based on a wide range of factors that include the demographics of users vs. the target audience.
The Social Shepherd revealed that almost 50% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25… not ideal for B2B companies who may want to focus more on LinkedIn, in which, according to Omnicore Agency, 50% of users are between 25 and 34 years old).
However, on average there is a large potential loss in platforms such as WhatsApp, with only 7% of marketers planning to include it in their future social media marketing strategy.
The Saudi Arabia-based digital marketing agency ANCHOVY. recently teamed up with Nespresso on a social media project based on a WhatsApp campaign.
Nespresso was looking to “grow their coffee capsules sales through retaining their coffee machine customers as returning customers.” But they were lacking two main insights: their customers’ favourite coffee flavour and how frequently they purchased the product.
Nespresso saw a 300% increase in its sales within the first 30 days of the campaign. It also happened to be the biggest number in sales since the company had started!
“The speed at which the Middle East runs, the European market cannot understand. In the European markets, you send an email, you wait 24 hours, it comes in… everything there is on WhatsApp. You can forget receiving an email. I think things are moving much, much faster there. And from my perspective, I think us Europeans, we’re way behind the curve now when it comes to markets like Dubai and Saudi where they are running at such a pace that our European team has to send an email, wait for it to come back. You send a WhatsApp there and within 10 seconds receive a reply.“Zak Borg – Co-founder and Director of ANCHOVY.
Your brand needs to stand out. Unfortunately, marketers and consumers don’t always have the same idea as to what that means.
If you don’t pay much attention to giving your brand a leitmotif, you’re hurting the most important aspect that makes your brand distinct from the others in the eyes of the consumer.
GoPro’s Instagram page is considered by Eclincher as the best brand to follow on social media. But what makes them stand out?
Still, it’s hard keeping up with all these factors to ensure that your brand gets a shot at visibility.
Not only do you have to keep up communication with clients, but you also need to be aware of emerging trends and have a constant flow of new and exciting ideas for campaigns.
It’s impossible to have someone working in-house 24/7 all year round to keep up with your social media marketing efforts. This is why you may want to look into hiring a social media marketing agency.
An agency can also have some extra perks and know some social media tips that you may not have access to with your internal team.
From engagement rates to managing social media management tools, social media agencies have a clear overview of industry trends and social media usage in general on both the business and client sides. So why not make the most of these experts?
“I’ve worked as an internal marketing executive for a company, and I’ve also worked at an agency. I think the difference between the two is that, yes, in-house might be a little bit cheaper, but although they’re focusing on your brand 24/7, they don’t do it day in and day out. At an agency, I feel that when you’re doing it day in and day out with so many different clients, you’re in a constant learning process, and what works for one client may not work for another. You’re actually using the data from all your clients to improve your overall knowledge.”Sydney Clarke – Director of Social Milk Marketing
The marketplace has become saturated with all kinds of products and services thanks to globalisation and digitalisation, making it difficult for businesses to stand out.
Whether you work for a conglomerate or a small business, it has become more important than ever to build relationships with customers. These relationships have been proven to initiate, grow, and persist via social media networks, and businesses across the UK are starting to make the most of social media tools at their disposal. But there is still a lot more potential for many businesses out there.
If your business goals include increasing brand visibility and boosting lead generation, but your business has yet to be present on a social media network, get in touch with a social media agency by posting your project and get started.
More than that, any business that is already present on a social network can benefit from an agency’s helping hand and conduct a thorough social media audit.
The Sortlist Data Hub is the place to be for journalists and industry leaders who seek data-driven reports from the marketing world, gathered from our surveys, partner collaborations, and internal data of more than 50,000 industries.
It is designed to be a space where the numbers on marketing are turned into easy-to-read reports and studies.